August 2022

South Woodham Ferrers sex offender jailed for breaching court order over contacting underage children

A sex offender has been sentenced to 36 weeks in prison after using social media to contact an underage girl when he was banned from doing so.

Laurence Spraggett, 45, appeared in Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday August 16, having been charged with breaching a sexual harm prevention order which banned him from having contact with children under 16.

Spraggett, of South Woodham Ferrers, pleaded guilty on July 14 to breaching the order on January 19 and for failing to notify Essex Police he was using the social media account under an alias.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court originally made the order on November 27 2019.

District Judge Andrew King sentenced him to 24 weeks in prison for breaching the order and 12 weeks for failing to notify the police of his account, to be served consecutively.

Spraggett will also have to pay a government surcharge of £128 by February 14, 2023.

Defending, solicitor Roger Bryce argued a prison sentence would cause the rehabilitating effect of Spraggett’s employment at a local bank to be lost.

Prosecutor Hazel Sunshine told the court the order clearly prevented him from contacting anyone under the age of 16 and said he had failed in his duty to tell the police.

She said: “He previously said he had shown remorse for his actions and said he had made the biggest mistake of his life.”

Spraggett’s prison sentences were reduced from 36 weeks and 26 weeks respectively on account of his guilty pleas. But District Judge King said a prison sentence was suitable due to the serious nature of the offences.

He said: “What you were required to do was simple and straightforward and not difficult to understand.”